‘Live music doesn’t get more alive than this!’ is how the MC for Stacie Collins’ live CD introduces the girl from Nashville at a show in Kendal, UK. Certainly, after this week’s show at the Harmonie I’m not about to disagree. An evening of Harp-howlin, twang-bangin Rock n Roll for sure…
After photographing the band at last year’s Rockpalast show with The Spin Doctors I made a point of setting my Nikon to 1/200 of a second and planned to handle the camera noise as it came. Anything slower and Stacie Collins would be out of the frame when the shutter came down – she really doesn’t stand still for the whole show – and I’m talking two hours without a break.
Sweat? It’s all part of Rock n Roll. Except I’m not sure if Rock n Roll is exactly a description of the Stacie Collins sound. There’s certainly a large helping o0f Nashville in their music. Bassist and partner Al Collins comes from the excellent 80’s Nashville band Jason & the Scorchers, who have been labelled many things, including ‘Cow Punk’. Not sure I want to label any band with a female singer (especially a sexy one like Stacie Collins) as anything with ‘Cow’ in it though. So ‘Country tinged Blues Rock’ is what I will select as a musical style. From song to song, and even within a song, the style can be any one of these genres but at the same time unmistakably at the same time, Stacie Collins.
I guess the Collins stamp is in no small part down to the honking cross -blues harp of the girl. How many bluesharp blowing females are there out there anyway? I had my friend Paulo a bluesharp man himself from Bonn folk club alongside me and he didn’t know of too many. He gave THIS ladies playing a seal of approval though. For the most part it was, as advertised, ‘harp-howlin’’ but there were occasions when Stacie could take the hammer down and play it cool and sultry, such as the sleazy and sexy ‘Get in Line’.
If you already have the live CD then a whole lot of the evenings material and indeed it’s order of presentation, will be familiar. Why change a winning formula after all? – Hit the ground running hard with ‘Baby Sister’, give it a one two punch straight after with ‘I Don’t Care Who Knows’, and then keep the hammer firmly down, and the sweat flying thereafter.
“Music is a beautiful thing, isn’t it?” Stacy asks the audience at one point. It certainly is when Stacie Collins and her Almighty Band are in town . The AL in the title is husband and bassist Al Collins and as a member of The Scorchers his work on this evenings flyaway rendition of their ‘If Money Talks’ is a highlight. Give the band a check on Google – writer of the song Perry Baggs sadly died in 2012 but this song is a legacy that I’m sure he’s proud to have left behind for music lovers to enjoy.
Other highlights have to be the Bluesier numbers, and especially the classics. Muddy and Little Walter would have enjoyed the sheer exhuberance of ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’ and Jimmy Reed might well have wished he could make a comeback from Blues heaven to do a rock guitar take of ‘I Ain’t Got You’ in the vein of Stacie’s excellent guitarslinger Welshman Jon Sudbury .
I loved the sixties guitar twang and swagger on ‘Get In Line’, and it made a break for Stacie when Al Collins took over vocal duties for ‘If You Wanna Get To Heaven’. It was a break for me too. By that time I was starting to feel like a nail that had been hit too many times by a hammer from the relentless attack of Stacie and her Harp. I love her commitment but although the pace may have changed slightly at times, the high-energy hadn’t and maybe a mid-concert break would have been a good thing . On the other hand of course that would have meant the band having to build up steam again all over again. They were certainly steaming when they crossed the finish line of a great concert and still had energy left to smile for a group photo with Promoter Berne Gelhausen of Mr Music after the show.
Somewhere in the middle of the band’s set were some very prophetic words – “It’s a long way to the top (If you wanna rock n roll)”. Stacie Collins and her band are certainly enjoying the journey and deserve to reach their destination very soon. Unless that is ‘the top’ means delivering the best of Harp-Howlin’, Twang-Banging, Rock n Roll’ in which case they’ve already arrived!